Mac-N-Cheese with Bacon & Crispy Chicken


Chef John Grainger from The Tailwater Lodge shares his recipe for Mac-N-Cheese with Bacon & Crispy Chicken.

The Tailwater Lodge is located at 52 Pulaski Street in Altmar, and their restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Click here for more information.

1lb cavatappi Pasta (cook al dente and reserve)
2tblsp vegetable oil
1.5lbs applewood smoked bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
3tblsp All-Purpose flour
1qt heavy cream
2tsp kosher salt
3tblsp unsalted butter
1.5tblsp tobasco sauce
2lbs shredded extra sharp white NY state cheddar cheese
3cups Mild Yellow NYS Cheddar cheese
2cups fully cooked (fritter style) chicken fingers cut into small (1/4 inch) pieces

In a large saucepot, add the vegetable oil and the bacon. Cook on medium high heat constantly mixing until the bacon is crispy but NOT burnt.

Discard half of the bacon grease and add the flour. Constantly mix on high heat for one full minute. Add the heavy cream and salt and whisk vigorously.

Bring to a boil and add the sharp white cheddar in 3 separate stages……melting it down completely each time. Once the sauce is nice and smooth, add the butter and the Tabasco sauce and mix well. In a very large mixing bowl, place the cooked cavatappi pasta and pour the bacon/cheese sauce over it. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together until blended well. Pour into a 13”x9 baking pan. Sprinkle the yellow mild cheddar evenly over the top and then do the same thing with the chicken pieces. Place in a 450 degree oven on the bottom rack for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is thoroughly melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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